Plusses: Comfortable, warm, ethically made.
Features: The warmer cousin to the popular Micro Puff, Patagonia’s Macro Puff (570g - m, 510g - w) is filled with high loft PlumaFill, stabilised by minimalist stitching. The hood is helmet-compatible, and an extended hem provides low cover. A ripstop nylon shell with a DWR finish provides water resistance, and a double zipper allows belay access. Two hand-warmer pockets, a chest pocket and two internal pockets provide plenty of storage options, and elasticated cuffs and a waist drawcord trap warmth.
Fit: It has a macro fit with room to layer up underneath. The long hem provides warmth around the buttocks, which is an underutilised luxury in insulated jackets. Length in the arms allows for free movement.
Comfort: Synthetic insulation is never quite as plush as down, but the PlumaFill is snug. The drawcord pulls in tightly to trap warmth and the roominess in the sleeves and body means you don’t feel restricted in movement.
In use: This is a well-designed and supremely comfortable jacket. The DWR coating repels the lightest of sprinkles, but when caught in a rain shower, it quickly soaks through, though it is comforting not to worry about wet down clumping.
Unlike down, the synthetic PlumaFill doesn’t provide an instant swelling of heat, but does a good job of keeping the warmth in without making a wearer uncomfortably hot. As a windbreak, the jacket is solid – perhaps aided by minimal stitching – and stood up well to gale force winds. One irritating feature was the hem drawcord’s adjustability. The drawcord is inside the handwarmer pockets, but the spring toggle locks are beneath the pocket lining, which makes for a bit of fiddling when you want to adjust it.
It doesn’t pack down well, but it holds its own against down jackets in terms of weight – especially when the length and large fit are considered.
Value: Patagonia puts the environment first – so if that’s an important factor, the price tag won’t sting so much. That said, this is an expensive garment.
Verdict: Proof that down isn’t the be-all and end-all of insulation, the Macro Puff is a comfortable and warm jacket for those who can afford it.